May 14 2012

“LISTENING is one of the greatest gifts we can give to each other.”

       —Julie Maloney, Founder/Director, Women Reading Aloud
How much there is, we know nothing about. Everyday, there is something new to learn.
We walk on a path throughout our lives, but until we come to new people that cross our trajectory, we are limited in what we know and can learn.
Daily, though, things happen, new contacts appear and we meet new influences which cause us to rebound in unexpected ways. Like a cue ball launched on a pool table, we travel one direction then sharply turn in another, influenced by forces we were not expecting when we met somebody new.

Knowing Zoe Artemis led me to meeting Julie Maloney. Getting
to know Julie led me to the Amherst Writers and Artists, with
their founder, Pat Schneider and her philosophy of authorship.

I betcha’ Julie Maloney never saw herself as leading writing retreats to Greece. But, one day she met Zoe Artemis and both their lives changed forever. Zoe was leading the tours and had been for many years when she got sick. During the summer of 2011, Zoe knew she would not be strong enough to make the trip and encouraged Julie to lead the group without her. In the photo above, we see Julie on the Island of Alonnisos in the Aegean Sea, feeling on top of the world.
Julie founded and directs the writing organization, Women Reading Aloud. WRA is dedicated to encouraging each writer to find her voice and, following the Amherst Writers and Artists Method, believes each person is a writer who deserves encouragement.  WRA is a non – profit organization devoted to the promotion of women writers. Julie’s goals for WRA include the development of a radio talk show highlighting non-celebrity women writers from all walks of life. Writers will read excerpts of their writing on air and have a conversation about their work.

Julie is a dancer, choreographer, writer,
author, poet, designer and photographer.

 

From her biography on Amazon.com: “Julie Maloney, the third of four daughters, was born and raised in Newark, New Jersey. She has worked in the arts as a performer and educator her entire life. She holds a B.A. in English from New Jersey City University and an MFA from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Julie performed professionally for several modern dance companies in New York City and was the artistic director, choreographer and principal dancer of the JULIE MALONEY DANCE COMPANY for thirteen years. The University of North Carolina has honored Julie with a Distinguished Alumna Award. Julie is a writer, photographer and teacher. She is the founder and creative designer for MANGO – a company that offers inspirational note cards, writing journals and books. In 2003, Julie founded WOMEN READING ALOUD, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting women writers through special events and workshops. She is a trained workshop leader in the Amherst Writers and Artists Method and leads writing workshops throughout the year.”

Julie has a lovely selection of stationery and
journals sold on-line through Mango Press.

 

In addition to WRA and distributing products through Mango Press, Julie is fully engaged in the writing life. She has written a new novel, titled The Lender, after traveling to Germany to do extensive research.

Private Landscape

 “Julie Maloney’s poems in her collection Private Landscape move with the exquisite grace of her abilities as a dancer and choreographer. Dream narratives sing in delicate imagery. Pain of cancer is here, honestly revealed and transcended; love is here, in its greatest giving. There is not a trace of easy sentimentality. This is a collection to remember, at once personal and universal.”           –Charlotte Mandel

Poet, Sight Lines; Editor, Saturday Press
Poet/Lecturer, Barnard College Center for Research and Women
   
NaBloPoMo May 2012


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May 12 2012

Zoe Artemis was of Greek heritage. She had family still in Greece.

When I last spoke with her, she was excited, to the point of being effervescent, about her tours to Greece. She took groups over in the summer, introducing them to places and people that only someone with connections would have.

She had the most compelling web site on her travels and tours. The photos were nothing short of “yummy.” One look and I was ready to get a passport and meet her over there.

Although, I couldn’t go in the years after I spoke with her, I always, in the back of my mind, intended to go at a future time. Someday, somehow….

And so, you’ll remember, when I was gathering my resources for my BlogHer dancing posts, I decided that introducing BlogHers to Zoe would be a perfect tie in to advertise her trips and show BlogHers a new vista.

Zoe in Greece by the water.

But, getting in touch with Zoe again was not meant to be. Zoe died of pancreatic cancer last July, in 2011. I did not know until I went to access her web site and saw saw that it was now a site of Remembrance. As I adapted my shock of Zoe being gone, I decided to reach out to one of the Commenter who had written in her Memories of Zoe Guest Book.

There was an entry by Julie Maloney, “Zoe contacted me this year to work with her in leading a writer’s retreat on the magical island of ALONNISOS in GREECE. We spoke countless times over the phone and this is the way we bonded. When she told me she was ill and would not be able to travel to Greece, I was deeply saddened and I knew I had to meet her in person.

I traveled to Astoria to greet someone whose body was failing but whose spirit was beyond description. Her love for life was apparent. We spoke about the upcoming retreat and I promised to see her as soon as I returned. I visited her 2 days after I landed. Once again, we embraced with such warmth, I knew she owned a piece of my heart. When I left, I said, “You gave me a great gift.”

I am grateful to this amazing woman for showing me the “light” of Alonnisos – for inviting me into her “vision” of how it could be if writers came together on this island. I look forward to honoring her legacy. Zoe, I love you.” –Julie Maloney, Director of WOMEN READING ALOUD

The small island of Alonnisos is a gem of untouched beauty.

Julie Maloney is a bundle of talent. After a career in dance, she is now a writer, author and Director of Women Reading Aloud, or WRA, a writer’s cooperative in New Jersey. Julie is currently arranging the tours to Alonnisos that Zoe inspired.

“WRA is an organization dedicated to the power of the writer’s voice. WRA believes in providing space for artistic growth. Founded in New Jersey in 2003, it offers writing workshops modeled after the Amherst Writers and Artists Method, the Author Series and Work-in-Progress Series, Writing and Yoga Program, conferences and retreats where women writers can explore their “authentic” voices. Founded on the 3-in-1 principle, WOMEN READING ALOUD focuses on the equal value of the writer, the reader, and the listener. All genres are welcome. WRA encourages writers to cherish their own voices, as well as the voices of others, as they travel the writer’s journey.”

From the Women Reading Aloud web site:  “Julie Maloney, Director of WRA, will return to the island of Alonnisos to lead a ten day writing retreat. Open to women writers of all levels, writing in all genres, this retreat offers a perfect balance of community and solitude. Stay in the family owned NINNA PENSION, just up the hill from the port. (Visit: www.ninna.gr.) Enjoy the friendly service of Ninna and her family, as well as the hospitality of Edem, the multi-tiered taverna down the road where we will write each morning by the sea, surrounded by the island’s flora. Limited to 12 writers

When I contacted Julie Maloney a few weeks ago, this year’s Writer’s Retreat to Greece was filled. I just heard from Julie, there is now an opening, if anyone is interested, click here. The tour is limited to twelve participants.

Tomorrow: Meet Julie Maloney

To visit with Women Reading Aloud, click here.

To explore Zoe’s Facebook page, click here.

   

NaBloPoMo May 2012



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May 07 2012

Zoe never disappoints. I am still fascinated by her.

I’ve received some inquiring BlogHer Comments about Zoe and her travels, as a result of my other two posts. In the 1970s, she was an Administrative Aid in the Carter White House,

Introducing Zoe Artemis

Zoe’s New Feminism

Because of the interest, here is another essay she wrote. This one about her experiences working with the Press on the Carter Campaign.

Zoe had a flair for the unusual and dramatic.

Zoe Artemis Remembers Hunter S. Thompson

Hunter Thompson is another American casualty in the war against hypocrisy and political corruption. Thompson was fearless….Thompson was a revolutionary…Thompson was a man’s man……Thompson was an oracle who continually pushed the envelope into the faces of the straights, into the face of conformity, into the faces of lame journalists. Thompson was American’s shaman. He carried his shadow side with him like a badge of courage, while most of us suppress or sanitize it. If all the world is a stage and I believe it is, then each of us has a part to play for better or worse. Like a consummate performance artist he stepped up to the plate ranting and airing the dirty laundry of the power elite.

I met and worked with many journalists when I worked on the Carter Campaign in l976 as an advance person. I was on the bus for four months and had the time of my life. Most of the press people, like Sam Donaldson were amazingly arrogant uptight cynical mainstream assholes. Donaldson, who worked for ABC and wore a toupee, always gave me a hard time. He complained about the size of his hotel room. It wasn’t big enough. He complained he was bored when Carter gave the same campaign speech at three or four rallies in one day. As if we were there to entertain him. He sneered at all of us and told me, ‘you’re candidate will never win’. There were a few cool people, like Ed Bradley, with whom I had a brief affair. We talked about Hunter’s book ‘Fear & Loathing on the Campaign Trail’ and how he got it right. There was lots of sex, drugs and alcohol and when were were in New York we hung out with John Belushi. Working on a presidential campaign produces the most amazing adrenal rush especially when the candidate starts off as the underdog and then begins catching up. President Jimmy Carter credits Hunter Thompson in winning the election when Thompson covered Carter’s Law day speech in Rolling Stone magazine.

Some may say it is a tragedy or a waste when someone takes their own life. On the other hand it may be seen as an act of courage. Thompson fully accomplished what he needed to do in this life time and we are the benefactors. What more can we ask of him.

 

NaBloPoMo May 2012



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May 06 2012

Zoe Artemis considered herself a New Feminist.

It’s a concept I have long held as my belief.

Many of those who were active in the Feminism of the 1970s grabbed onto the idea that to be equal, women had to be like men. Some women chose to dress in gray pantsuits; some even wore ties, thinking that would level the playing fields in the male bastions of business, medicine and law.

Many decided being aggressive, using foul language and telling obscene jokes that demeaned women would endear them to their male counterparts. In most cases, these efforts were ineffectual, just looked silly and compromised those participating. It diluted women’s feminine power.

Zoe belly-danced in the Tribal Style. It differs from
traditional belly-dancing in that it started in California
in the mid 1970s and is done to primarily enrich the
dancer, with the audience being secondary.

In the following essay, Zoe expresses her belief that aggressive, male dominated feminism dishonors the feminine ideal and dilutes feminine power. She sent it to her friend, Brian Hassett, a short story writer, poet, feature writer, essayist, critic, columnist, reviewer, and songwriter, in such places as The Village Voice, Rolling Stone, The New York Times, Complete Woman, Penthouse, High Times, Beat Scene, etc. and most importantly to us, a blogger.  To read Zoe’s letter as it originally appeared on-line, click here.

Zoe’s New Feminists Essay

March 22nd, 2008 

This is a nice essay that was slipped over the transom by a fellow New York warrior in honor of Women’s History Month, thought I’d share. 

MEET THE NEW FEMININE FEMINISTS,

by Zoe Artemis

These days my life is divided up into two moving parts: teaching dancing, and campaigning for Barack Obama.  Yes, I’m a Baby-boomer for Barack.

On March 8, International Women’s Day, I taught a Belly Dance workshop at my studio in New York City.  My role:  to teach women to connect with their sacred feminine power and their female heritage. The women in attendance ranged in age from 26-60, in all glorious shapes and sizes.   

Belly Dancing has great mojo power in bringing together highly smart women from all walks of life, to get down with each other, and dance.  I create a supportive environment where women can feel sexy, saucy, ass-kickin’ strong, vampish, gorgeous and nurtured; a space where they can express latent archetypes:  the coquette, the angel, the sensualist, the earth mother, the gypsy, the performer, the priestess, the warrior, and the tribal dancer.  Meet the new feminine feminists.

Zoe excelled at everything she did.

We spent the day swiveling, shimmying, shaking, and moving our hips independently of our torso, like a pendulum swinging beneath an immobile clock.   To world thumping music our hands created the frame around the body; sometimes the moves were soft, sensual and inward; other times it was outward, wild and reckless.  A tribe of women who validate and confirm each other’s sensuality and beauty becomes the perfect antidote to lack of self esteem.  For many western women Belly Dance is truly a form of liberation.

The feedback I received from women who belly dance with me is this:  it’s not necessary  to have that one-to-one attention from a man in order to feel womanly and sensual.  Women can feel sexy, sensual and feminine whether they’re in a relationship or not. It’s about creating self-confidence, community, joy and humor.  The repetitive movements bring us fully into the present moment, the meditative state, into the zone.

Another aspect which is important for us feminine feminists is that we get to play dress up.  Gone are the pant suits, the jeans, the sweat pants, the baggy clothes, the clunky sneakers and the 10″ high heels.

Many arms indicates supernatural powers and the ability
to do many things. Zoe is in red, seated at the bottom.

We usually think of feminism as a modern, contemporary trend, however there’s a new kind of feminism that is emerging, where women can own up to their sensuality and softness, while maintaining their fire.  I don’t want to take orders from the patriarchy, but I don’t want to take orders from (contemporary) feminists either, i.e., Hillary Clinton and Geraldine Ferraro; which brings me to the current political climate.  I am stunned by the raw voracious and, yes, desperate grasping for power by the old guard feminists.  It’s pathetic and frightening to see these women make fun of anything deep or soulful, and who take joy in wounding people.  Some feminine feminists:  Samantha Power, Michelle Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Arianna Huffington.  Yelling, shrieking, mocking, bullying, punching and whining are not cool.  Punching and whining simultaneously?  That’s an oxyMORON. 

Zoe Artemis is a native New Yorker who currently teaches belly dance classes at her studio, creative movement classes in the NYC public schools, and campaigns for Barack Obama.  In l978-79, at her first job ever, she worked as an administrative assistant in the Carter White House.   http://www.zoeartemis.com/

 

To learn more about Zoe Artemis, click here.

 

NaBloPoMo May 2012



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